Johanna Fitzmaurice

Johanna Fitzmaurice, the founder of Fitzmaurice Community Services, was a pioneer in life adjustment, transitional and community based services for persons with disabilities. Years before the exposure of the deplorable institutional practice of “warehousing” Johanna established innovative support services, including one of the very first community group homes in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Following her death in 1978 her daughter, Elizabeth Koster, continues those services and developed and grew other ground-breaking initiatives such as Housing services, Community living services, Day services, Family support and recreation, Specialized psychiatric services, Employment initiatives, and Camping and travel. In short, many of the services that those with disabilities need to succeed.

Just a few decades ago, conventional wisdom held that people with developmental and behavioral health disorders were best served in state institutions or mental hospitals. However, they were often treated cruelly and subjected to inhumane medical procedures and practices. Thanks to the efforts of families, professionals and pioneers like Johanna Fitzmaurice, since the 1970’s, community based services have become the option of choice for people with developmental and behavioral health disorders.

Through the creation of innovative programs, training, education and advocacy, FCS has helped lead a revolution—professionalizing the field, transforming the public’s perception and advocating for basic human rights.